Jim Bailey: Why I Want to be Mayor of Jacksonville

September 28, 2010 93 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Jim Bailey. The tireless public servant and downtown businessman. The list of his affiliations would take an entire article, as would a recounting of the anonymous philanthropy and quiet contributions that have characterized his life and career. He is one of several great Republican candidates for Mayor of Jacksonville. Why is he running? Join Metro Jacksonville as Jim lays it out for our readers.

More times than I can count, I’ve been asked why I want to be Mayor of Jacksonville. After over three and a half decades of raising a family, building a successful business and working hard to better my community, some suggest I’ve earned the right to sit back and enjoy the rewards.  Admittedly, there are thousands of reasons not to run, but there are six overwhelming reasons to run -- my six daughters. It’s as simple -- and as complicated -- as that.

Jim Bailey and his (gorgeous) daughter, Emily.

It’s the future generations -- and the city they will inherit -- that has been my calling. My vision for the Jacksonville of tomorrow is a city where our children will never want to -- or have to -- live anywhere else. My four eldest daughters moved away from Jacksonville to seek opportunity elsewhere, which has become all too common for families here. Building the city that will keep the next generations here in Jacksonville will take a unique brand of leadership.

We all understand that in order to envision our future, we must understand our past. And it’s a past I’m proud to be a part of.  My mother was born in Springfield and my grandfather founded the Daily Record on Bay Street over 96 years ago.  I was born here and raised my family here. I have built a successful business and served on the boards of almost two dozen community and service organizations. My roots in Jacksonville run deep, but my love for my hometown runs deeper.

The list of things I wish for Jacksonville is a lengthy one -- safe streets and neighborhoods, quality education for our children, a healthy river, a government that is accountable, understandable, affordable and trustworthy. But in these tough economic times, the key to Jacksonville’s future is jobs ... for the workforce of today and tomorrow. We can no longer afford government that acts as a roadblock. Government must get out of the way and let business get back to the business of creating jobs. As former Mayor Jake Godbold often said, “If Mom and Dad don’t have a job, you don’t have a quality of life.” And think about this -- there are currently over 10,000 kindergartners enrolled in Duval County schools. Who is going to provide the leadership so these kids will have jobs and opportunity 20 years from now?

Candidate Jim Bailey at fundraising event.

I want to be Mayor because I can provide the leadership to make these things happen
My commitment to this journey is strong. While people I meet often ask why I would want to take on this challenge, people who know me understand that I’ve never been one to sit on the sidelines. The sacrifice this requires from my family and an employee is not lost on me, and their unwavering support only fuels my passion.

Now, more than any time in our recent history, it’s critical for the Mayor to have signed the front of a paycheck, as well as the back. It will take a proven leader who’s not running for the next job but is running to make a real difference. In this way I am unique ... and it frees me to make the hard decisions, not just the politically popular ones.

True leaders show us how to stick together when times are tough, and they teach us not to dance in the end zone when times are good.

But most importantly, true leaders inspire others. It will take citizen leadership to change the course of Jacksonville. True leaders insure that everyone has a seat at the table. This is no time for spectators. Only when we tap into the talent and energy of this community will we unleash the true genius of Jacksonville -- it’s citizens.

I am up for the challenge. So are the people of Jacksonville.  Together, we can look beyond the politics ... and reach for the possible.  

So ... why do I want to be Mayor? So you can look into your children’s faces and know that by making your home here in Jacksonville, you’ve given them the best opportunity to build happy, healthy, successful lives. Is there really any better reason?

Jim Bailey

Jim and (also gorgeous) wife, Donna Bailey

Intrepid (and striking) Casey and her dad, Jim Bailey.